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Caution: Work Ahead, A Report to the Ontario College of Trades

    Since its inception, the Ontario College of Trades (the College) has faced harsh criticism from many industry professionals who are concerned about the fees and compulsory membership structure. There are also concerns that the College’s regulatory functions are negatively impacting small- and medium-sized enterprises.

    This report highlights several serious issues facing the College, which collectively have contributed to its “legitimacy problem.” Specifically, this report identifies the following:

    The College’s decisions around journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios and compulsory certification are being made without sufficient data and representation from affected parties.

    The College’s trade classification process lacks transparency and is biased toward increasing the number of compulsory trades.

    The College’s onerous ratio review process is biased against small and rural businesses.

    The College has not lived up to its mandate of increasing the number of workers in the skilled trades in Ontario.

    And yet, OCC members are willing to give the organization a chance. The OCC and its members believe that given the right structure and policies, the College has the potential to make Ontario’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system more responsive to the competitive imperatives of the economy.

    The success of the College will depend on its ability to address the labour shortages in the trades, elevate the standards in the industry, protect consumers, and promote the attractiveness of careers in the skilled trades. In its current form, however, the College is not well positioned to deliver on many of the core elements of its mandate.

    Based on extensive consultation with our members, the OCC offers recommendations to reform the Ontario College of Trades and make it more responsive to employers’ needs.

    Read this report.

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